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Managing Employee Stress at Work

Stress affects everyone differently. Mental health is both subtle and complex.  Some sufferers display obvious and quite debilitating signs of stress, others manage to mask their anguish from the world by going about their work with little or no visual clues.  Add to that the stigma mental health problems bring with them and employers can often feel like it is impossible to tackle this taboo.

Here we offer our tips on how employers can seek to support employees suffering with stress at work and adhere to their general duty of care towards the health and wellbeing of all employees.  With the right knowledge and support, employers can prevent stress at work leading to long term absence.

1. Get to know your staff.  As an employer, you’re not expected to know the intricacies of your employees’ personal lives but having some level of personal knowledge about staff will allow you to identify changes in behaviour.

2. Watch out for potential red flags.  These will vary from person to person but common red flags may include low mood, increased irritability, decreased productivity or uncharacteristic changes in behaviour.  

3. When a red flag is identified, have an informal discussion with the employee.  A line manager should be encouraged to sit down with the employee in a private setting to let the employee know there are concerns and support is available.

4. If the employee has not sought medical support, try and encourage them to visit their GP.  Many people suffering with stress will not seek assistance for fear of being signed off sick but it is a necessary step.  

5. Consider what support you can offer.  This will, naturally, depend on the type of role the employee undertakes but support may include temporarily reducing hours, decreasing workload, adjusting targets or providing additional training.

6. If an employee will not openly discuss their stress with you, consider seeking medical input either by referring them to an occupational health specialist or by writing to their GP, with their consent.

7. Monitor staff suffering with stress with regular review meetings.  Ensure the employee feels they can speak with you about their concerns and seek help when they need it.

8. If stress at work in a common problem for your business, consider implementing a stress at work policy so employees know how you will approach the issue and how they can seek assistance from you as well.Mental health in the workplace is a minefield.  

At SCE Solicitors, we can help you balance the needs of your business with your duty of care towards your employees.  If you would discuss tackling stress at work, implementing a stress at work policy or any other employment law issue, please contact me on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Solicitor Advocate LLB (Hons), Higher Rights (Civil) at SCE Solicitors
Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.
Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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